No institution in America has done more to perpetuate segregation than public schools. Until 1954, segregated schools were legal in America and it was the standard practice in much of the South.
Less recognized, but equally pernicious, is the structural segregation all across America, where zoned school systems maintain racial and economic segregation. Some parents of color have been jailed for trying to enroll their children in schools where they don’t live.
Today, one of America’s most segregated school systems is in New York City, where Randi Weingarten once ran the teachers union. As a recent fight on the Upper West Side of Manhattan shows, even white progressive parents resist integration.
School systems across America and the colleges and universities that prepare teachers have also done a terrible job recruiting people of color into the teaching profession and an even worse job keeping the few they have. Nationally, the student body is over 50 percent people of color, but the teaching profession is just 17 percent people of color. Only about two teachers in 100 are Black males.
The roots of this institutional racism in the teaching field go back to the 1950s, when the Supreme Court ruled segregation illegal. Tens of thousands of Black teachers working in all-Black schools could not find work in integrated schools.
Madison has recently expanded its Least diverse schools.